One dead as California wildfires rage throughout state

Image courtesy Tommy Davis

Durtschi's home was among 20 structures destroyed by the fire weeks after he moved from Idaho.

Southern California authorities are scaling back evacuation orders for neighborhoods around a wildfire that destroyed 20 homes and other buildings in Santa Barbara County.

Firefighters have gotten a handle on a wildfire that whipped up late Friday night in the hills above Goleta in Santa Barbara County, and CalFire reports the Holiday Fire is holding at 100 acres.

Total calm Saturday morning replaced the 50 miles per hour (80.5 kph) gusts and forward progress of the fire was stopped at about 100 acres (40.5 hectares) or less, said county fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

Authorities believe human activity sparked the blaze, but an exact cause hasn't been determined.

Coming a day after Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Siskiyou County, a person has died as a result of the Klamathon Fire, Cal Fire announced Friday morning. As of Saturday afternoon, the blaze is 80 percent contained.

Mandatory evacuations were called for an area of about 1,500 people, authorities said. He said he hadn't yet told his two oldest children their home was gone. It's 5 percent contained and has destroyed 40 structures, officials said.

Meanwhile, in Northern California, at least one person has died in the Klamathon Fire, which began near the OR border.

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Another fire burning near the California-Oregon line, known as the Klamathon Fire, has left one person dead.

More than 30 engines, including 120 firefighters, were on the scene battling the fire in 100-degree heat and gusty winds.

The state's first wildfire fatality since the deadly Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara occurred near the California-Oregon border, where the Klamathon Fire killed one civilian and injured a firefighter. Fire bans have also been enacted by many counties.

Steep and inaccessible terrain on the north side of the blaze has hampered firefighters, Cal Fire said, and warmer weather this weekend could spell trouble.

The blaze destroyed an unknown number of structures and forced residents in the small communities of Hornbrook, Hilt and Colestein Valley to flee as flames crossed Interstate 5 near the California and OR border, local media reported.

In San Diego County, several fires erupted, including one that burned at least five homes and perhaps many more in Alpine, in foothills not far from San Diego. The fire was estimated to be approximately 50 acres and was 0% contained.

Some fires have been calmed by rain while others have been stoked by wind and hot temperatures.

"We bring the retardant to the firemen, but those folks on the ground, the men and women on the ground, they're really doing the tough work" he said.

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